Self-Taught Teen Programmer Creates New Publishing Platform

February 2, 2015

10:00 am

From influential tech figures, to President Obama himself, we’ve heard it frequently: coding is a necessary skill for accelerating into the future; careers in programming are lucrative and they’re helping us create some of society’s major innovations. With this core rhetoric relayed to every corner of the world, it’s no surprise then that programs teaching programming or computer science – both in the digital and real worlds – are popping up to help support the rapidly growing demand to acquire this skill. For one 15-year-old from London, the availability of these resources enabled him to not only learn how to code, but to eventually create Bloshy, a new kind of publishing platform.

“I got interested in programming after hearing that you could literally create anything you want,” says teen programmer and Bloshy creator Osman Ahmed. “From a blank text file to thousands of characters on multiple files, you can turn an idea that started in your head into a working program – whether it’s designed for personal use or for the general public. “

Ahmed is an example of a new generation of teens committed to utilizing technology to create innovating tools to solve some of our mundane issues; he’s a teen programmer who is not only motivated by the chance to provide something of utility, but also by mere self-satisfaction of creating something out of nothing. By utilizing online resources like Codeacademy, Ahmed was able to learn Javascript and Python at the age of 14. Through further independent study, he eventually learned that creating web applications was not something exclusive to companies, but something that could also be achieved by individuals. From there, he went on to learn CSS and HTML, and then to more complicated languages like PHP. While still at the age of 14, Ahmed created his first website in July of 2014: BrowseNow, a single platform that allows you to search multiple sites (like Google, Amazon, or Reddit) from one site.

“Today, blogging on platforms such as Medium and WordPress has turned into a competitive ‘sport’. Survival of the fittest. If you haven’t had any experiences with a pen and paper before, then the chances are that you’ll be unheard of in those services.”

With Bloshy, Ahmed wanted to create the first publishing platform that allows you to write what you desire without having to commit starting your own blog or without pressure from readers – and to be able to access it on any device. To use the platform, simply come up with a unique URL and password for your intended post to Bloshy (each, new post must have a different URL), then you’re put in front of a minimal and distraction-free text editor. From there, you’re free to publish your piece publicly or keep it private; if you choose to make the piece public, you can either remain anonymous or publish under a byline. Right now on Bloshy, you’ll find pieces written about anything from the housing crisis in the U.K. to a poem about a red kite. If at any time you want to go back to something you’ve written, or if you’d like to share it with someone else, simply put in your unique URL and password for that post. Because of this flexibility, Bloshy can also be used a collaboration tool, allowing many different people to write their thoughts on one document.

What You Can Write About on Bloshy

(via Bloshy)

In recent years, the demand for skills in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) has grown rapidly – likely motivated by the steadily growing tech and engineering sectors in the U.S. Indeed, just this week, Glassdoor published its list of the 25 best jobs in America for 2015 – of which many tied directly to the tech sector. Because of such demand and because of society’s inevitable transition into a wholly digital world, more initiatives are being created to teach STEM in schools around the world. For teen programmers like Ahmed, access to these resources is an important step not only towards a career, but also towards new opportunities for them to impact the world and to boost their self-perception:

“Learning how to code is not only a career-transformer, but also an opportunity to change the lives of others,” says Ahmed. “Ever since I got into developing, I’ve loved every bit of it. To create something and say ‘I actually made that?’ is an amazing feeling – one that has to be experienced.”

In the future, Ahmed hopes to make improvements to Bloshy in order to truly make it a new kind of publishing platform. Right now, he’s focused on improving the reading experience, as well as creating functions for both commentary and social sharing.

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Ronald Barba was the previous managing editor of Tech.Co. His primary story interests include industry trends, consumer-facing apps/products, the startup lifestyle, business ethics, diversity in tech, and what-is-this-bullsh*t things.

Aside from writing about startups and entrepreneurship, Ronald is interested in ‘Doctor Who’, Murakami, ‘The Mindy Project’, and fried chicken. He is currently based in New York because he mistakenly studied philosophy in college and is now a “writer”. Tweet @RonaldPBarba.

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